Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Riverfront Boulevard Plan Reconnects City to River

"City to River", a citizens group formed to advocate for improved connections between downtown St. Louis, the Arch grounds and the riverfront, has developed a plan to reconnect the city to its historic riverfront through the creation of a new Memorial Drive.

Check out the group's proposal at the new City to River website.


Anonymous said...

Just 86ing 70 at our doorstep does not improve life for 99.9% of regional residents. If the region wants to truly grow and succeed once again, 86 all highways inside of 270, convert them to mass transit-cycling routes lined with trees and livable neighborhoods. Trouble is the next biggest trend for the region is McEagle's plan to make Lambert, highway Farty and 70 key components of the China hub strategy.

john w. said...

Ok, but we're only talking about the Arch grounds and the immediately adjacent conditions to the Arch grounds and the riverfront. I believe the project's success practically hinges on the strength of the connection to downtown proper, and as the group's new website has suggested, should re-open our city's front door. It's the Gateway to the West, after all, and should not require visitors to cross the moat of abject embarrassment to be experienced.

Anonymous said...

And that is the inherent problem for the region: "we're only talking about", the exact attitude why the region continues to suffer from depopulation and divided government. The problems referred to (connections for people over motorized vehicles) are widespread in the region. The largest moats of embarrassment were constructed in building the New 64.

Why don't we just call it what it is: "Visitors First, Residents Last"!

john w. said...

I'd call it that if the Jefferson Memorial to westward expansion was to just begin, and not already in existence for over two generations. Attacking a proposal to vastly improve, through remedy of previous error, the long lost and vital interface between city and river at this point on the map doesn't lend credence to your comments in any way. While I thoroughly agree that great indifference toward anything pedestrian/cyclist/community scaled and accommodating has been the long-adopted attitude of engineers and planners, this effort is specifically about the restoration of the city to river connection. The lesson to be learned thereafter is certainly that divisive barriers can, in fact, be removed and people-scaled community through strong connection can be enjoyed again.

Anonymous said...

"Why don't we just call it what it is: "Visitors First, Residents Last"!"

As a resident who must pass under Highway 70 everyday on my walk to work into downtown, I am 100% FOR blowing up 70 and creating a pedestrian friendly Memorial Drive.

This stretch isn't just bad for visitors, it's not so great for those of us who work downtown either.

Not everything can be fixed, but I see this project as a huge step forward in urban, creative thinking for this region.

GMichaud said...

I don't get the map, so they have drawn an orange line where the new Memorial Drive will be?

Certainly something like this project would be dramatic and have the potential to remake St. Louis.

I like the idea of abandoning the highway at least in downtown. Maybe a new highway connection between 40 and 70 occur a little further out? I wonder just how much thinking was done on originally locating these highways?

If an acceptable alternate is proposed it would encourage abandonment of the downtown highway.

Someone suggested going through Illinois, but bridges are always a bottleneck.

In any case abandonment of the highway inside 270 is unrealistic right now, although I agree that the sentiment should be explored.

I am most disappointed in how the competition for the arch has been severely limited.

I wonder why it is so hard to encourage broad discussion about a subject?
The narrow selection allows for insiders to be selected. I am not saying that is what happened, but that there is from the start an extreme exclusionary process which excludes many potential solutions.

Certainly it would possible to conceive a plan that might take 50 or 100 design sketches for public discussion and whittle that down to 9 or 10 entries. Or many other approaches that might even include the development of community design teams for input.

But I forgot they are in a hurry. After 50 years there is no time for discussion.

Rick Bonasch said...

Greg -

That is funny, that after 50 years there is no time for discussion. Actually, we have about 6 months.

And yes, the orange line does signify the approximate location of the proposed new downtown boulevard.

The main purpose of the image is to show the way the new boulevard serves as a connector between downtown's primary activity generators.


Anonymous said...

Of COURSE it's about insiders, with some outside "experts" thrown in to dress it up. Did anyone think HOK WOULDN'T be one of the few firms even permitted to submit a design, authors of the gargantuan green-roofed monster that has swallowed the downtown roofline? It's all about pre-screening, to suit the danforths, the bryan-caves and other power-hungry humpty-dumpties who are running and funding this thing, and the citizens and residents be damned. There will only be five actual design entries, judged in part by a black history professor and some non-residents [is that the only way they could get a black on this "jury"? There are no black designers, landscape architects?!]. And the baloney about "connecting the city to the river", about "the city's front door" is Alice-in-Wonderland. Where have you all been living?!?!?! The disgusting brown sewer-like river has been dead as a factor in this city's economy and life for over a century, never to return. And our "front door" is the now-catacombed Lambert Airport and the interstates, most definitely NOT the river. This entire project is about mutilating a great, serene, and all-too-rare urban park. And you must be living in a padded cell if you believe that even one dollar, public or private, spent on this [non-]"competition" charade during this Depression is well-spent in this city of decrepit schools, blighted neighborhoods, deconstructed transit, vacant downtown lots, empty public buildings and economic stagnation.

Anonymous said...

Being weakened by divided government and bloggers who believe favoritism should continue to rule the Lou, change becomes harder over time.

After Hoffarth was allowed to destroy the main artery through the region (the New 64), and then took over Forest Park Forever, local bloggers remained silent. Hassinger confirms that making the Arch grounds pedestrian friendly is unlikely: it “can’t happen … it’s not something we will entertain.”

The painful truth about the Lou: